Count Em Up: Cristian Chirila Wins Clear in Vegas

The National Open, a fixture on the tournament circuit since 1965, attracted 722 players to the Westgate Hotel, the third highest total ever and the greatest since 2008. The Open is the flagship event of the Las Vegas International Chess Festival, about which more later. The powerful (18 GMs and 11 IMs) Open section saw a clear winner, GM Ioan Chirila of Romania. Like his three fellow GMs who tied for second, Ioan, 27, known as “The Count,” for his spirited Grand Chess Tour segments, has lived in the US for a number of years while retaining his national affiliation. His successes include the 2007 World Under 16 Championship and the Under 2550 prize in the 2016 Millionaire tournament, which he chronicled for readers on Chess Life Online. Cristian obtained a degree in political economy from UT Dallas spent some time coaching and playing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is now based in Saint Louis. His live commentary on the many championship events sponsored by the club there is familiar to chess fans. The new seven-round format provided more opportunity for a clear winner to take the prized Edmondson Cup, and also allowed for additional multiple schedules. The two-day schedule in the Open had just 12 players, but they included nine GMs and two IMs! When the “merge” occurred after the fourth round, there were just two perfect scores: fifth seed GM Illia Nyzhnyk (our new World Open Champion) and seventh seed Chirila. GMs Dariusz Swiercz and Tigran Petrosian (the latter from the fast schedule) were a half point behind, along with FM Nick Raptis, who was fresh off an upset of GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez. Chirila had caught something of a break in Round Four when young GM Ruifeng Li rejected a repetition of moves and then played h2-h3 a move too late in time pressure (39.c4 or 39.Kh1 and White is worse but still in the fight).
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.23"]
[White "Li, Ruifeng"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2692"]
[BlackElo "2637"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. c3 d6 6. Nbd2 a5 7. Nf1 h6 8. Ng3
O-O 9. O-O Be6 10. Bb5 Bd7 11. Ba4 Re8 12. Re1 Qb8 13. d4 Ba7 14. d5 Ne7 15.
Bxd7 Nxd7 16. Nh4 Qd8 17. Nh5 Kh7 18. Qg4 Ng6 19. Nf5 Nf6 20. Qh3 Nxh5 21. Qxh5
Qf6 22. Bxh6 gxh6 23. Qxh6+ Kg8 24. Re3 Bxe3 25. fxe3 c6 26. Rf1 cxd5 27. exd5
e4 28. Qh3 Kf8 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. Qh3 Kf8 31. Nh6 Qg7 32. Rxf7+ Qxf7 33. Nxf7
Kxf7 34. Qd7+ Re7 35. Qxd6 Ra6 36. Qd8 Ne5 37. Qh8 Rg6 38. Qh5 Kg7 39. h3 Nf3+
0-1[/pgn]
Round Three saw a convincing win by The Count. As bulletin editor Chris Bird observes, 14…Ng4! Is a multi-purpose move if ever there was one, trading off White’s Ne5, developing black’s Bc8, and opening the diagonal for the Bg7. Chirila outplays his GM opponent in the ensuing tactics.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.22"]
[Round "3.5"]
[White "Bitoon, Richard"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B21"]
[WhiteElo "2503"]
[BlackElo "2637"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 c5 2. f4 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qd8 5. Nf3 g6 6. Bb5+ Bd7 7. Qe2 Bg7 8.
Ne5 a6 9. Bc4 Nh6 10. d3 Nc6 11. Be3 Nd4 12. Qf2 Bc8 13. O-O-O O-O 14. h4 Ng4
15. Nxg4 Bxg4 16. h5 b5 17. Bd5 b4 18. hxg6 bxc3 19. Bxd4 cxd4 20. Bb3 h5 21.
Rde1 Qd6 22. f5 e5 23. gxf7+ Rxf7 24. Kb1 Kf8 25. Bxf7 Kxf7 26. f6 Qb4 27.
fxg7+ Kxg7 28. b3 Qa3 0-1[/pgn]
Swiercz, 24, a student at Saint Louis University, had a break of his own in the fourth round. He was outplayed by IM (or GM-elect, as he has the norms but not yet the requisite 2500 rating) John Bryant, who missed the winning 30.Ng6+, after which the advantage completely flipped.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.23"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Bryant, John"]
[Black "Swiercz, Dariusz"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "2584"]
[BlackElo "2753"]
[PlyCount "120"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bb7 7. Re1 Bc5 8. c3
d6 9. d4 Bb6 10. a4 O-O 11. Bg5 h6 12. Bh4 Qe7 13. Na3 exd4 14. cxd4 g5 15. Bg3
Na5 16. Ba2 b4 17. Nc4 Nxc4 18. Bxc4 Nxe4 19. a5 Ba7 20. Qb3 Qf6 21. Bd5 Bxd5
22. Qxd5 Nxg3 23. hxg3 g4 24. Nh4 Bxd4 25. Re4 Qxf2+ 26. Kh2 Be5 27. Rxg4+ Kh8
28. Qd3 Qf6 29. Rf1 Qe6 30. Rxf7 Rxf7 31. Ng6+ Kg8 32. Ne7+ Kf8 33. Ng6+ Kg8
34. Ne7+ Kf8 35. Ng6+ Ke8 36. Nxe5 dxe5 37. Rg8+ Rf8 38. Rxf8+ Kxf8 39. Qf3+
Ke7 40. Qxa8 Kd7 41. Qe4 Qd6 42. Kh3 Qd4 43. Qh7+ Kc6 44. Qxh6+ Kb5 45. b3 Kxa5
46. Qc6 Qc3 47. Qd5+ Kb6 48. Qe6+ Kc5 49. Kh4 a5 50. g4 a4 51. Qe7+ Kb6 52.
Qe6+ c6 53. bxa4 b3 54. Qe8 b2 55. Kh5 Qd4 56. Qa8 Kc7 57. Qa5+ Kd7 58. Qe1 Qd3
59. Qxe5 Qh7+ 60. Kg5 Qe7+ 0-1[/pgn]
Nyzhynk, a 21-year-old student at Webster University, had reached these heights with the help of a second round attacking game against IM Keaton Kiewra.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.22"]
[White "Nyzhnyk, Illia"]
[Black "Kiewra, Keaton"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E90"]
[WhiteElo "2706"]
[BlackElo "2476"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. h3 c5 7. Be3 cxd4 8. Nxd4
Nc6 9. Nc2 Be6 10. Be2 Rc8 11. O-O Na5 12. b3 a6 13. Nd4 Nc6 14. Nxe6 fxe6 15.
Rc1 Qa5 16. Qd2 e5 17. Rfd1 Rcd8 18. Qb2 Nd4 19. b4 Qb6 20. Nd5 Nxd5 21. exd5
a5 22. a3 axb4 23. axb4 Ra8 24. Rb1 Ra4 25. Bg4 Rfa8 26. c5 Qb5 27. Qc1 Rxb4
28. Rxb4 Qxb4 29. Bxd4 1-0[/pgn]
An attractive finish (29…exd4 allows 30.Be6+ Kh8 31.c6), but 27.Rxd4! exd4 28.Be6+ Kh8 29.Bxd4 might have been more so. But no need to gild the lily! Chirila and Nyzhynk drew in the fifth round, allowing Swiercz to catch up with a win over Petrosian, who might have been a bit fatigued after four rounds of Game/30.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.23"]
[Round "5.2"]
[White "Swiercz, Dariusz"]
[Black "Petrosian, Tigran"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C54"]
[WhiteElo "2753"]
[BlackElo "2710"]
[PlyCount "91"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. h3 Bb6 8. a4 h6
9. Re1 a6 10. Nbd2 Re8 11. b4 Ba7 12. Rb1 Bd7 13. b5 axb5 14. axb5 Na5 15. Ba2
c6 16. bxc6 bxc6 17. Nf1 Be6 18. Bxe6 fxe6 19. Be3 Qc7 20. Bxa7 Rxa7 21. Ne3
Nb7 22. Ng4 Nd8 23. d4 Nxg4 24. hxg4 Nf7 25. Qb3 exd4 26. cxd4 Qd7 27. Rbc1
Rea8 28. Qc3 Ra6 29. e5 d5 30. Rc2 Qe7 31. Rec1 Rb6 32. Qd3 Ra3 33. Qg6 Qd7 {
[#]} 34. g5 hxg5 35. Nxg5 Nxg5 36. Qxg5 Ra4 37. Qg4 Qe8 38. Rc3 Rba6 39. Rg3
Ra7 40. Rh3 Ra3 41. Rh6 Re7 42. Rh5 Rd3 43. Qh4 Qg6 44. Rxc6 Qe4 45. Rh8+ Kf7
46. Qh5+ 1-0[/pgn]
Chirila began to stake his claim to the Cup by defeating the top player in the next score group. GM Elshan Moradiabadi, in the penultimate round. The unusual opening sequence has been seen before, and 11…Nf8 has been played and is the computer’s first choice, and it prefers Black after 12.Rd1 Bd6. Instead, the game continuation favors White (though …Bg5 is one of the ideas behind placing the knight on e6). No better would have been 14…Bxc1 15.Rxc1 Bg6 16.e3, or 14…Bg6 15.Nc3 when Black’s pieces are awkwardly placed and his king faces an uncertain future. In the game, White is clearly on top, though either 18.Bxf7+ Nxf7 19.dxe5 or 18.d5 may improve. Black could have escaped into a pawn-down ending with 20…Qc5, and after 23.Ne4?! (23.Rac1) he missed a tactical opportunity with 23…0-0! when 24.Qxe7 Rae8 25.Bxf6 Rxe7 26.Bxe7 Re8 27.Bxc5 Qc6 28.f3 Rxe4 29.fxe4 Qxc5 and White’s fragmented pawns give Black good drawing chances. 24.Bxf6 Bxf6 25.Qxc5 leaves White more clearly on top. In the game Black gets no further chances (though 33.Qc4+ Qf7 34.Qxg4+ Bg7 35.Rd7! is a cleaner win).
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[White "Chirila, Ioan"]
[Black "Moradiabadi, Elshan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A07"]
[WhiteElo "2637"]
[BlackElo "2624"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. g3 c6 3. Bg2 Bg4 4. h3 Bh5 5. O-O Nd7 6. d4 e6 7. c4 Be7 8. cxd5
exd5 9. Qb3 Qb6 10. Qe3 Nf8 11. Ne5 Ne6 12. Rd1 Nh6 13. g4 Bg5 14. Qa3 Be7 15.
Qa4 f6 16. Bxd5 fxe5 17. Bxe6 Bf7 18. Qc4 Bxe6 19. Qxe6 exd4 20. Bg5 Ng8 21.
Nd2 c5 22. Qe5 Nf6 23. Ne4 Qc6 24. Bxf6 gxf6 25. Qh5+ Kf8 26. Ng3 Qe8 27. Qh6+
Kg8 28. Nf5 Qf7 29. e3 Bf8 30. exd4 Qg6 31. Qf4 h5 32. dxc5 hxg4 33. hxg4 1-0[/pgn]
At the same time Nyzhynk and Swiercz drew, leaving the latter to play the clear leader….and secure a clear advantage with White…
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[White "Swiercz, Dariusz"]
[Black "Chirila, Ioan"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C48"]
[WhiteElo "2753"]
[BlackElo "2637"]
[PlyCount "158"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Bd6 5. d3 a6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. h3 Nd7 8.
Be3 O-O 9. O-O c5 10. Nd2 Re8 11. Nc4 Nf8 12. Nxd6 cxd6 13. f4 exf4 14. Bxf4
Ng6 15. Bg3 Be6 16. Qf3 Qd7 17. Rae1 Rad8 18. b3 f6 19. Re3 Ne7 20. Rfe1 Nc6
21. Qf2 Nd4 22. Nd5 Nc6 23. Nf4 Bf7 24. Qd2 Ne5 25. Rf1 Ng6 26. c4 Ne5 27. Ne2
b5 28. Nc3 bxc4 29. bxc4 Rb8 30. Bxe5 Rxe5 31. Rg3 Qe7 32. Nd1 Rb4 33. Qf4 Rg5
34. Rxg5 fxg5 35. Qf2 Be6 36. Ne3 h6 37. Nf5 Qd7 38. Nxh6+ gxh6 39. Qf8+ Kh7
40. Rf6 Qg7 41. Qxg7+ Kxg7 42. Rxe6 Ra4 43. Kf2 Rxa2+ 44. Kf3 a5 45. Rxd6 a4
46. e5 Rd2 47. g4 a3 48. Rd7+ Kf8 49. Ke4 a2 50. Ra7 Ke8 51. Kd5 Rxd3+ 52. Ke6
Kf8 53. Rxa2 Rxh3 54. Ra5 Rg3 55. Kf5 Rf3+ 56. Ke6 Rf4 57. Rxc5 Rxg4 58. Rc7
Rf4 59. c5 g4 60. Rh7 g3 61. Rxh6 Rg4 62. Rh1 g2 63. Rg1 Ke8 64. c6 Kd8 65. Kd6
Rd4+ 66. Kc5 Rg4 67. Kd6 Rd4+ 68. Ke6 Rd2 69. Ra1 Kc7 70. Ra7+ Kxc6 71. Rg7 Kc5
72. Rg4 Rf2 73. Kd7 Rf7+ 74. Ke8 Ra7 75. Rxg2 Kd5 76. Re2 Ke6 77. Kd8 Ra5 78.
Kc7 Rxe5 79. Rxe5+ Kxe5 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
A slip on the 55th move (55.Ra8+ Kg7 56.Kd6 or 55.Rxc5 should close the deal) left Black close to a draw (56…Rg3=), but the game took another turn with 56…Rf4? 57.Rxc5 Rxg4 when 58.Rc8+ Kg7 59.c5 would be winning. Instead, after 58.Rc7 the game petered out to a draw – albeit a much longer and more interesting one than many previous top board games in the last round! Chirila’s luck held as GM Nikola Mitkov of Chicago was unable to exploit an advantage against Nyzhynk.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[White "Mitkov, Nikola"]
[Black "Nyzhnyk, Illia"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C11"]
[WhiteElo "2537"]
[BlackElo "2706"]
[PlyCount "84"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Be7 8. a3
O-O 9. dxc5 Nxc5 10. Be2 b6 11. O-O Ba6 12. Bxa6 Nxa6 13. b4 Nc7 14. Qd3 f5 15.
Ne2 Qd7 16. Rfd1 Rfd8 17. c3 b5 18. h3 a5 19. Bb6 Ra6 20. Bxc7 Qxc7 21. Nfd4
Nxd4 22. Nxd4 Qc4 23. Qxc4 bxc4 24. b5 Rb6 25. a4 Kf7 26. Kf2 Bc5 27. Kf3 Rb7
28. Ra2 g6 29. Nc6 Ra8 30. g4 Bb6 31. Rg2 Rg8 32. Rdd2 Rc7 33. Nd4 Rcc8 34. Nc6
Rcf8 35. Rg3 Ke8 36. g5 Rh8 37. Rdg2 Kf7 38. h4 Rfg8 39. h5 gxh5 40. Rh3 h6 41.
Rxh5 hxg5 42. Rgxg5 Rc8 1/2-1/2[/pgn]
Mitkov was the only player among the top four to start in the two-day schedule (perhaps counterintuitive for a 46-year-old player), and he had an attractive win in the fourth round.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.23"]
[White "Mitkov, Nikola"]
[Black "Jakubiec, Artur"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B23"]
[WhiteElo "2537"]
[BlackElo "2564"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. f4 b5 4. d4 cxd4 5. Qxd4 Bb7 6. Nf3 e6 7. Bd3 Qc7 8. Qf2
Nf6 9. e5 b4 10. Na4 Ne4 11. Qb6 Qxb6 12. Nxb6 Ra7 13. Be3 Bc5 14. Bxc5 Nxc5
15. O-O Ke7 16. a3 Bxf3 17. Rxf3 Nc6 18. axb4 Nxb4 19. f5 Nc6 20. Nc4 g6 21.
fxg6 hxg6 22. Raf1 Rh7 23. Nd6 Nxe5 24. Nc8+ Kd8 25. Nxa7 Nxf3+ 26. Rxf3 Kc7
27. b4 Nxd3 28. Rxd3 Rh8 29. b5 Ra8 30. Rc3+ Kb7 31. Nc8 1-0[/pgn]
Mitkov says he invested almost all his remaining time on move 24 calculating up to the move that ends the game, 31.Nc8 (an amusing echo). Thus Chirila took the Cup and $8000 for clear first (the National Open prize fund totaled $100,000) and the afore-mentioned Swiercz, Nyzhnyk, and Mitkov tied for second. FMs Raptis and Teemu Virtanen, IM Dean Ippolito, and Siddharth Banik split the pool for players rated under 2500 and under 2400. One player who made an early departure from the Open was GM Ruifeng Li, who withdrew after that loss to Chirila. In the second round, however, he schooled a fellow young GM, Akshat Chandra, in rook endings. 65.Re8+ would have held the draw, and after 65.Rg6? Kf5! is the only way to win.
[pgn]

[Event "National Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.22"]
[White "Chandra, Akshat"]
[Black "Li, Ruifeng"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A61"]
[WhiteElo "2590"]
[BlackElo "2692"]
[PlyCount "138"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nc3 g6 7. Bf4 a6 8. a4
Bg7 9. h3 O-O 10. e3 Ne8 11. Be2 Nd7 12. O-O Ne5 13. Bxe5 dxe5 14. a5 Nd6 15.
Nd2 Bf5 16. e4 Bd7 17. Nc4 Qc7 18. Nxd6 Qxd6 19. Na4 Bxa4 20. Qxa4 Rfb8 21.
Rfc1 Bf8 22. Rc3 b5 23. axb6 Qxb6 24. Ra2 Qb4 25. Qc2 a5 26. Bc4 Bd6 27. g3 a4
28. Kg2 Ra7 29. Rca3 Rba8 30. Qc1 Qb6 31. Qa1 Kg7 32. h4 h5 33. Qd1 Ra5 34. Qc1
Qc7 35. Qc3 Qb7 36. b3 axb3 37. Rxb3 Qa7 38. Rxa5 Qxa5 39. Qxa5 Rxa5 40. Rb6
Ra4 41. Bb5 Rb4 42. Rxd6 Rxb5 43. f4 Rb2+ 44. Kf3 Rb3+ 45. Kf2 Rb4 46. Ke3 Rb3+
47. Ke2 Rb4 48. Kd3 Rd4+ 49. Ke3 f5 50. fxe5 Rxe4+ 51. Kd3 Rxe5 52. Rd8 Re4 53.
d6 Kf7 54. d7 Ke7 55. Rg8 Kxd7 56. Rxg6 c4+ 57. Kc3 f4 58. g4 hxg4 59. Rxg4 Ke6
60. h5 Kf5 61. Rg8 Re7 62. Kxc4 Ke4 63. h6 Rc7+ 64. Kb3 Rh7 65. Rg6 Kf5 66. Ra6
f3 67. Kc3 f2 68. Ra8 Rxh6 69. Ra1 Ke4 0-1[/pgn]
In the Under 2300 section, WGM Carla Heredia of Ecuador, a Texas Tech stalwart, tied for first at 6-1 with 25-year-old Vilmos Balint of Hungary and veteran Lorand Bela Kis of Pennsylvania. She beat Balint in the last round to do it!
[pgn]

[Event "National Open U2300"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[Round "7.7"]
[White "Heredia, Carla"]
[Black "Balint, Vilmos"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C52"]
[WhiteElo "2268"]
[BlackElo "2299"]
[PlyCount "71"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventRounds "7"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Ba5 6. d4 b5 7. Bxb5 Nxd4 8.
Nxd4 exd4 9. Qxd4 Qf6 10. O-O Bb6 11. Qd3 Ne7 12. Nd2 O-O 13. Nf3 Nc6 14. Bg5
Qg6 15. Rfe1 Re8 16. Bf4 h6 17. Rad1 Bb7 18. Qxd7 Rad8 19. Qf5 Rxd1 20. Rxd1
Rxe4 21. Qxg6 fxg6 22. Bg3 Re7 23. h4 Ba5 24. Rb1 Nd8 25. Ne5 Bxc3 26. Nxg6 Re4
27. Bd3 Bf6 28. Bxe4 Bxe4 29. Rb8 Bxg6 30. Bxc7 Kf7 31. Bxd8 Bd4 32. Ba5 Kf6
33. Rc8 Bf5 34. Rc7 Be6 35. a3 Ke5 36. Rxg7 1-0[/pgn]
Carla and her partner, Eric Phares, also tied for first Mixed Doubles. In Under 2100, Andrew Koenigsberg of Texas, the second seed, split the honors with Omar Garcia of New Mexico and hometown player Ryan Phillips, also with 6-1 tallies. Under 1900 saw four players reach the same score: Rachael Li (Ruifeng’s eight-year-old sister), Luke Curry of Arizona, Ryan Leong (a 16-year-old Canadian whose CFC rating, higher than his US rating, was used), and veteran Jose Cruz Pacheco of Los Angeles. Rachael gained 120 rating points and for good measure, tied for first Mixed Doubles with her partner Alexander Wang. (Ryan Leong and his partner, Kate Jiang, were third.) In Under 1700, junior Brice Huang of Massachusetts was clear first with 6½, ahead of Anatoly Zharikh, Osias Ganotisi, and A K Singh. Under 1500 also saw a clear first, young Mark Chen of Hawaii, whose 6½ score put him ahead of Jason Zhang, Ivan Nikola Mitkov (presumably the GM’s son), and Julio Jose Candanedo. Under 1300 landed in the “multiple tie” category, as Mohammad Jarullah of Arizona, Saul Ramirez of Texas, and Joshua White and Wyatt Okikawa of Hawaii (that small state was well represented!) scored 6. We mentioned that the National Open is part of a festival, and the chronologically first event was the Women’s Open, with 46 players. Saikhanchimeg Tsogtsaikhan of Mongolia made a clean sweep with 5-0, winning $1000, after losing to IM Nazi Paikidze (after a 4-0 start) last year.
[pgn]

[Event "US Women's Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.21"]
[White "Tsogtsaikhan, Saikhan"]
[Black "Sevilla, Julia"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B99"]
[WhiteElo "2185"]
[BlackElo "2064"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "5"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3
Qc7 9. O-O-O Nbd7 10. Bd3 h6 11. Bxf6 Bxf6 12. Be2 Nb6 13. g4 Bd7 14. h4 Nc4
15. Qd3 Rc8 16. Rh3 Qb6 17. b3 Na3 18. Rd2 h5 19. e5 dxe5 20. fxe5 Be7 21. Nf5
Rd8 22. Nxg7+ Kf8 23. Nxh5 Bb5 24. Qe3 Qxe3 25. Rxe3 Rxd2 26. Kxd2 Bxh4 27.
Nxb5 Nxb5 28. Bxb5 axb5 29. Rc3 Bd8 30. Rc8 {and White wins} 1-0[/pgn]
Another Mongolian woman living in the San Francisco area, Badamkhand Noravsambuu, had helped clear the way for her with an upset of WGM Sabina Foisor. 15…Nd7 is highly suspect, and later Black has to shed two pawns to get her queen out of the danger zone.
[pgn]

[Event "US Women's Open"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.20"]
[White "Norovsambuu, Badamkha"]
[Black "Foisor, Sabina"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D35"]
[WhiteElo "2076"]
[BlackElo "2394"]
[PlyCount "97"]
[EventDate "2018.06.??"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "5"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. e3 h6 8. Bh4
Be6 9. Bd3 Nbd7 10. Rc1 Nb6 11. Ne5 Nfd7 12. Bg3 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 Bf6 14. O-O Bxe5
15. dxe5 Nd7 16. f4 g6 17. Kh1 Qb6 18. e4 d4 19. Na4 Qb4 20. a3 Qb3 21. Bc2 Qe3
22. Bd3 f5 23. exf5 gxf5 24. Qc2 Bd5 25. Rce1 Qh3 26. Bxf5 d3 27. Bxh3 dxc2 28.
Rc1 b5 29. Bxd7+ Kxd7 30. Nc5+ Kc7 31. Rxc2 Rhg8 32. Kg1 h5 33. g3 h4 34. Kf2
hxg3+ 35. hxg3 Rh8 36. Ke3 Rh3 37. Rg1 Rg8 38. Ne4 Bxe4 39. Kxe4 Rgxg3 40. Rxg3
Rxg3 41. Kf5 a5 42. e6 b4 43. axb4 axb4 44. Kf6 Re3 45. f5 b3 46. Rd2 c5 47. e7
c4 48. Kf7 c3 49. bxc3 1-0[/pgn]
A sampling of the many other Festival events: the Walter Browne Memorial Blitz, with 56 players, was won by Nyzhnyk. The Age 14 and Under Premier saw Alexandr Zuev, Amudan Mangudi, and Yu-Cheng Liang atop a 53 player field, and the 9 and Under Premier had Marcus Vasquez, Omya Vidyarthi, and Elena Zhang ahead of 33 others. Beyond Chess was top team in both. There were also beginners tournaments, simuls, junior trophy tournaments, other blitz events, and GM Melik Khachiyan’s popular clinic, going over submitted games. Finally, in conjunction with the awards ceremony, a mixed field of veteran and junior GMs engaged in “Spirit of Chess,” a double-round blitz tournament. Ruifeng Li returned to the playing field and dominated with 9-1.
[pgn]

[Event "Spirit of Chess"]
[Site "Las Vegas"]
[Date "2018.06.24"]
[White "Blatny, Pavel"]
[Black "Li, Ruifeng"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "2472"]
[BlackElo "2692"]
[PlyCount "80"]
[EventDate "2018.06.24"]
[EventType "blitz"]
[EventCountry "USA"]
[SourceDate "2016.11.30"]

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. e3 g6 6. Nbd2 Bg7 7. Bd3 O-O 8. h4
Bg4 9. Qc2 c4 10. Be2 Bf5 11. Qd1 h5 12. Ne5 Nxe5 13. Bxe5 b5 14. f3 Qd7 15.
Rg1 a5 16. g4 hxg4 17. fxg4 Bd3 18. Bxd3 cxd3 19. Nb3 Ne4 20. Bxg7 Kxg7 21.
Qxd3 Qd6 22. Qe2 b4 23. Nd2 bxc3 24. Nxe4 cxb2 25. Rb1 dxe4 26. Rxb2 Rfc8 27.
Rc2 Rab8 28. Rg2 Rb1+ 29. Kf2 Rxc2 30. Qxc2 Qf6+ 31. Kg3 Rh1 32. Qxe4 Qxh4+ 33.
Kf3 Rf1+ 34. Ke2 Qe1+ 35. Kd3 Qb1+ 36. Rc2 Rd1+ 37. Ke2 Re1+ 38. Kf2 Rf1+ 39.
Kg2 Rg1+ 40. Kh2 Kh7 0-1[/pgn]
Organizers Al and Janelle Losoff once again did a superb job of juggling the myriad of details involved in a successful festival. Their webpage, https://www.vegaschessfestival.com/  has many other results and pictures. They were happy to announce that the festival will begin ten days earlier next year, June 12, and (another first!) the top section will be nine rounds with title norms available. My thanks to the Losoffs, bulletin editor Chris Bird, DGT game coordinator Jon Haskel, photographer Tim Hanks, and Chief TD Kiki Huerta and his staff for their help. Hope to see you at the Westgate next June! Find full information and bulletins edited by Chris Bird on the event site.

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Typo Nick Raptis is an FM not GM. Listed right further down the article.

In reply to by Russell Miller (not verified)

Fixed, thanks.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] selected as the Best Question, you will win the gift certificate. Next month’s subject will be GM Ioan-Cristian Chirla’s victory in the National Open, so send in your questions now for GM Elshan Moradiabadi who wrote the cover story, or anything […]

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